Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

Why Tika and Jamara in Dashain?

The significance and cultural reason behind Tika and Jamara


Though everyone has their own to-do preference in Dashain, the essence of Dashain is incomplete without two elements: Tika and Jamara. On Bijaya Dashami, we amass blessings from our elders with the splotch of red tika on the forehead and Jamara tucked on our ears. But, have you ever wondered the significance of these two?

Jamara is the young saplings of barley or maize or rice seeds. It is planted on the first day of Dashain, also known as Ghatasthapana. Traditionally sown on Tapari (leaf bowls), Jamara is grown in a dark room for nearly 10 days. This lack of sunlight gives them a distinct yellowish colour. Finally, on the day of Bijaya Dashami, the sprouts are plucked from the Tapari and bestowed along with blessings.

According to the Hindu mythology, Jamara is said to be liked by goddess Durga. So, it is given as the sign of her blessings. Apart from this, ancient Ayurveda regarded Jamara as a crucial medicinal herb. In fact, Jamara juice has gained popularity in recent years as a health tonic.

On the side of Jamara, the Dashain Thali is embellished with the tika. Tika is the mixture of red-coloured Kumkum, rice and yoghurt. It is put on the forehead between the eyebrows. This position of tika is believed to give peace and calmness.

Likewise, rice symbolizes purity, positivity and prosperity in Hinduism. In fact, it is also a crucial part of various other Hindu ceremonies.

Jamara on the 9th day after sowing Seeds of wheat, barley and maize. Picture: Binit Timalsina

Apart from these religious values, plants like rice, maize and barley are primary staples in Nepalese agriculture. So, the instances of Jamara and Tika also showcase how our cultural values have evolved along with our natural environment. It is a reminder that human relationship with nature is not only limited to basic needs but also deeply intertwined with our religious habits.

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